The purpose of the essay is to answer the question: How has Archie Comics reflected changing gender norms in the United States of America from World War II to the present of women in contemporary American society, in its eventual challenge of the position of men as the dominant sex, and in its inclusion of previously marginalized sexual orientations? As entertainment primarily targeted to middle-class America, Archie is a helpful avenue by which to understand acceptable views. This paper will present gender roles portrayed in Archie Comics in three different time frames: the Forties, the Sixties, and the new millennium. It will analyze the establishment of traditional gender roles set forth in the earliest Archie Comic strips. Next it will critique the ways in which it responded to the challenges to these traditional norms and assess whether the comic incorporated these challenges or rebuffed them. Finally, this paper will evaluate the role of modern-day Archie Comics as a vanguard in the new discussion of gender roles and sexual orientation in America. For the purpose of analysis, issues of Archie representative of the era will be examined in conjunction with larger historical developments. These include: the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the post-feminist world following the 1970s, and the rise of LGBT acceptance.
Often changes in social norms move at a glacial pace. Particularly difficult in assessing social norms is the definition of what is normative to begin with. For that reason, most historians will look at what artifacts and documents signify popular culture. While these artifacts and documents may reveal what norms existed at a given time, tracking changes in norms relies upon the existence o...
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Paul Kupperberg. “Life With Archie #16.” In Archie The Married Life, 3:23–24, 2012.
———. “Life With Archie #20.” In Archie The Married Life, 4:20, 2012.
———. “Life With Archie #22.” In Archie The Married Life, 4:9, 2012.
———. “Life With Archie #23.” In Archie The Married Life, 4:20, 2012.
Universe, Funding. “Archie Comics Publications, Inc. History.” History Of Archie Comics, n.d. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/archie-comics-publications-inc-history/.
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